Friday, September 12, 2014

We Have a Southern Artisan Cheese Festival Winner!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM

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Congratulations to commenter Christapessagno, you’ve just won two tickets to the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival! Please email me at lesley [at] lesleyeats.com with your contact information (full name and email address) so I can put you on the list.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. It was no surprise to me that many of you are excited to see Blackberry Farms. And for good reason; last year, Blackberry Farms had one of the largest tables and most extensive selection of cheeses, preserves, and breads made on-site at their farm. It's truly fantastic food that they're making over there in the hills of East Tennessee.

For those of you who didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets (at a variety of levels) on the festival’s site (don’t forget; a portion of proceeds benefits Community Food Advocates).

And to whet your appetite even further, you can follow the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival on Facebook, where Kathleen Cotter of The Bloomy Rind has been profiling the cheesemakers who will be participating.

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Mitchell Deli Team to Open Rudie's Seafood and Sausage

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 3:14 PM

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  • @MitchellDeli
David Mitchell of the popular Mitchell Delicatessen in Riverside Village is planning to open a new restaurant next month.

Rudie's Seafood and Sausage is going into the space the deli vacated when it moved to bigger digs across the street last year. In fact, it's filling both the former deli at 1402 McGavock Pike and the former Sip Cafe space next door. (Sip Cafe is currently operating from a food trailer outside Old Made Good at 3701 Gallatin Pike while it prepares to move to another building.)

Mitchell says Rudie's will offer a small menu that will change frequently, reflecting the meats the team will prepare in house utilizing whole hogs. (Think pork belly, house-made sausages and more.) In addition, they will cure fresh seafood in house and will also serve up fresh shellfish like oysters to fill out the menu of mostly small plates, suitable for sharing.

Rudie's other component is beer. Mitchell says he's working to offer beers "at the temperature they are supposed to be enjoyed at." For example, he'll offer one cellar beer that will be served at the preferred temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit (warmer than what's common in U.S. bars), which brings out more subtle flavors. Other beers will be served cooler, depending on the flavor profile.

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Vote for Olive and Sinclair in Martha Stewart's American Made Awards

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 8:52 AM

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Nashville favorite bean-to-bar chocolate maker Olive and Sinclair continues to draw national attention, and now Scott Witherow and crew have caught the eye of no less than Martha Stewart herself. At the countess of style's website, they're holding an online competition to recognize the best in American Made, a program that "spotlights the maker, supports the local, and celebrates the handmade."

Olive and Sinclair is up against a formidable roster of other craftspeople in the Sweet and Baked Goods territory, including bakers and chocolatiers from across the country. But now O&S is a finalist, the vote is in the hands of the people.

Beginning this Monday, Sept. 15, online voters will be able to help select the winners who will be announced on Oct. 17 and recognized at an event in New York City on Nov. 7-8. In his nomination, Witherow answers a series of questions about his business and philosophy. When asked about his sources of inspiration, he mentions "the South, anything old and the outdoors." As for his advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs, Witherow says, "It's nice to work for yourself and even nicer to work with your friends."

Doesn't this sound like somebody who you'd want to represent It City to followers of the Martha Empire? If you want to do your part to help him win, head over to the nomination page and vote early and often!

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The Weekly Open Thread: Fairest of the Pies Edition

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM

This weekend is the final weekend for the Tennessee State Fair. I’ll be there tomorrow, in the fortunate position of judging this year’s Tennessee Two-Crust Apple Pie Contest. Last year, Abby White was a judge and got some great tips from fellow judge, Miss Daisy King. Among other things, Miss Daisy advised to observe the appearance of the pie both for doneness on the bottom as well as for flakiness of crust and to be sure not to eat all of each pie portion, since there will be 10 pies to judge.

Miss Daisy (as well as a volunteer) also warned to keep reactions about each pie to a minimum, since the entrants will be in the audience watching, and they take this competition very seriously. (Makes sense: The top pie is rewarded with $500.) This will be the difficult part as I am known among family and friends for my utter lack of poker face, particularly if I have encountered something I do not like. That said, I hope I’m warned ahead of time if any pie contains bacon and/or peanut butter. Also, I hope it’s not too crass that I plan to pack up my uneaten portions to share with my family, who will be patiently waiting for me (or not) to finish judging so we can get out to all the other great fair foods.

Speaking of fair foods, has anyone been to the fair this year and spotted any new additions to the fair fare? Any new deep-fried items? Anything new on a stick? And can anyone confirm that the pineapple whips are there this year? What’s your favorite fair food?

What else is on your mind this week?

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Here's Your Volksfest Reminder

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 7:18 AM

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Last month, Lesley Lassiter told you about Tennessee Volksfest, Nashville's version of the traditional German "Festival for the People." The event is moving from Centennial Park to the Nashville Farmers' Market for 2014, a development that also occurred with the Nashville Food Truck Awards and almost led to me going to the wrong place a few weeks back. (Don't do that. It's downtown.)

The space should be plenty big to handle the hundreds of attendees expected this weekend to enjoy a traditional German biergarten serving seasonal offerings from Franziskaner, Hofbräu, Krombacher and Spaten, and German food favorites will be served up by folks at Riffs. Admission is free, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't go ahead and visit the event website to buy beer and food tokens in advance.

The tokens are $5 apiece, with beers going for 1 token and food items costing 1-2 tokens. But if you purchase $20 worth off the website, they'll throw in the equivalent of an extra token for free. Instead of paying $5 for your stein, they'll give you four tokens and your drinking glass. Of course, you can bring your clean stein from last year to refill if you'd like.

Along with beer, and food, the festival will feature classic Bavarian live music, games, kid zone and a vintage Volkswagen car show. Tennessee Volksfest will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 13, and Sunday, Sept. 14, at the Nashville Farmers' Market, 900 Rosa Parks Blvd. Get ready to get your oom-pah on!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watch Sterling Wright of The Slider House on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen Tonight

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 4:22 PM


The Slider House
is hosting a viewing party at 7 p.m. tonight for grill cook Sterling Wright's appearance on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen on Fox.

Wright has been cooking since he was 15; a press release from The Slider House says he grew up in Nashville's J.C. Napier homes and got inspired to take a culinary path thanks to a teacher at McGavock High School.

(He seems like a savvy and amiable sort; we don't expect the kind of fireworks that ensued when then-Nashville chef John "Chappy" Chapman clashed with Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares.)

The Slider House, which specializes in slider sandwiches and craft beer served in cans, is at 1907 Division St. in Midtown. The two-hour episode, which is the Hell's Kitchen season premiere, airs at 7 p.m. CDT tonight on Fox. (Locally that's WZTV-Channel 17.)

DVR note: The Hell's Kitchen page on the Fox site says the premiere "will air in its entirety, but will pause for President Obama's speech" on the ISIS crisis in the Middle East at 8 p.m. CDT.

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Wurst News: We Bid Farewell to Viener Fest

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Viener Fest, the little restaurant and bar off Centennial Park serving "German-and-Austrian-styled cuisine with an American accent," has shut down for good.

The closure was announced Tuesday on the Viener Fest Facebook page: "To all of our loyal and supportive customers, we regretfully must inform you that Viener Fest is now closed and we will not re-open. We thank you sincerely for all your support and patronage over the past two years and we hope to see you around Nashville as life goes on ..."

Viener Fest opened in early 2013, and the response was positive. In his First Bite on this blog, Chris Chamberlain was impressed by the expansive menu and the vintage bungalow's nicely appointed interior. He particularly enjoyed a $5.99 lunch special that included a drink, a sausage dish and a side item from a list that included sauerkraut, apple sauce, french fries, spaetzle, German potato salad and more; for his sausage item, he chose the "juicy and delicious" kaiserkraner.

Scene critic Carrington Fox also gave Viener Fest a positive review, noting both to the German/Austrian cuisine and the American dishes. "We were a little sheepish about how much we enjoyed the fried bologna sandwich," she said, and also lauded the desserts, including "a gorgeous Black Forest cake" boasting "moist layers of dark chocolate sponge and fluffy mousse, with whipped cream frosting and cherry filling."

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Whiskey Wednesday: Two Special Releases From Old Forester

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 9:03 AM

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Sometimes we don't appreciate the benefits of living so close to Kentucky. While Tennessee makes some fine whiskey, no state can match our neighbors to the north for sheer variety of quality brown liquor. As a bonus, Nashville is often one of the few markets to receive an allocation of the limited releases of special whiskeys.

Old Forester is one of the distilleries that grace Music City with their special releases, and two new products should soon make appearances (albeit briefly) on local liquor store shelves soon. The first is the latest iteration of their popular "Birthday Bourbon" series, established to commemorate the birthday of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Louisville-based Brown-Forman and Old Forester. Here's how the company describes this year's gift to the drinking public:

Selected from a single day of production and handcrafted by Master Distiller Chris Morris, this limited edition small batch bourbon is vintage-dated — offering a one-of-a-kind character and flavor profile that will never be replicated. Its unique decanter-style glass bottle is a throwback to the late 1800s when Old Forester was first produced. Each bottle features the founder’s signature and the dates on which the bourbon was barreled and bottled.

Available starting in September, the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will have a suggested retail price of $59.99 and will be sold at most liquor stores nationwide. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is bottled at 97 proof.

“This year’s selection evokes a creamy, soft vanilla bean character with flavors of cinnamon spice, maple syrup and citrus,” said Morris. “The complex flavor and warm finish with just a hint of sweetness make this year’s batch a must-have release.”

It'll come and go quickly, so keep your eyes peeled. The second release is another historical reference to George Garvin Brown, this time to his practices as one of the premier (and premiere) blenders of whiskeys in the 19th century. Brown-Forman has maintained some sort of presence on Louisville's Whiskey Row since 1870, back when present day Main Street was still River Street, with warehouses full of whiskey strategically positioned to be loaded on steamships to travel the country.

George Garvin Brown used to buy whiskey from several different manufacturers and then blend them to create a consistent flavor profile for his own product. His personal guarantee of quality printed in his own handwriting still appears on every bottle of Old Forester.

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That Sounds Good! An Evening of Storytelling Inspired by Food

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 7:23 AM

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Next month, The Porch Writers' Collective is hosting an event — a smorgasbord of stories inspired by food — at The Stone Fox in West Nashville. That is, an evening filled with stories about food — preparing it, eating it, sharing it, loving it, hating it — as told by the storytellers themselves. And that could be you.

First, the collective is looking for submissions. From the collective:

Who Should Submit: Everyone has a food story, or knows a great story involving food. Funny, poignant, sly, delicious — food stories tell us something about ourselves and our world.

Guidelines for submitting/telling your food story: stories should be 3 to 7 minutes. Please tell your story, rather than read it. Be sure your story has a beginning, middle and end. A great story teaches a lesson, reaches a conclusion, or describes a situation with serious consequences. Ask yourself what you learned from the incident, or how it changed you, or what the consequences were. If you can’t answer that, then your story is actually an anecdote or an essay. That goes double for “grandmother” stories. Grandmothers are great, and everyone has a grandmother story. We’ve established a limit of one “grandmother” story for the event, so only bring a great one.

Submit your story by any of these methods:

- Write it up (Word, Google Drive or comparable format) and send it to hello [at] porchtn.org
- Make a video and upload to YouTube, then send a link to hello [at] porchtn.org
- Tell your story on Soundcloud (or other mp3 site) and send a link to hello [at] porchtn.org

The deadline for submission is Sept. 21, and of the stories submitted (and evaluated by an expert panel of writers and editors), seven or eight will be chosen for reading.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Celebrate the Return of Alfresco Dining With Nfocus

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 11:27 AM

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Ah, we are finally getting a reprieve from the hot weather, with the occasional bouts of cool weather that September brings every year as we prepare for fall. Each year, our sister publication, Nfocus, celebrates this return to outdoor dining weather by hosting Alfresco, a community meal event scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 18.

This year, Alfresco will take place under the stars at the Residents’ Club in the Westhaven community in Franklin. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, followed by the five-course, family-style dinner prepared by Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. Appetizers include an artichoke bruschetta, prosciutto-wrapped fig, and goat cheese and ricotta pizzette. Main courses and side dishes include a grilled tomato salad, sauteed Swiss chard with asiago cheese, wild mushroom risotto, ciabatta, and Chianti-braised short ribs followed by tiramisu for dessert. Dinner also includes cocktail pairings provided by Corsair Distillery and throughout the evening, entertainment will be provided by ASCAP songwriters performing live.

Tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased on the event’s website. Proceeds benefit New Hope Academy in Franklin.

Nfocus Alfresco
Thursday, Sept. 18
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Westhaven Residents’ Club
401 Cheltenham Ave., Franklin
Tickets: $55 per person

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